Conviction rate: India

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Conviction rate

1953, 1960, 2000, 2014

Conviction rate, India, 1953, 1960, 2000 and 2014; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Aug 09 2015

See graphic 'Conviction rate, India, 1953, 1960, 2000, 2014'


Crime rate and conviction in %, 2006-15; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, September 5, 2016

See graphic 'Crime rate and conviction in %, 2006-15'

2012, 2014

The Times of India, Aug 09 2015

Deeptiman Tiwary

Kerala tops with over 77% convictions, Bihar worst with just 10%

In an indication that the quality of investiga tion by police and argumen of cases by prosecution may be improving, the latest data on disposal of criminal cases by courts show that convic tion rate is slowly but steadily improving. In fact, 2014 saw a jump o almost five percentage points in conviction rate over 2013 bringing last year's figures close to those in the 90s.

According to data on con viction rate for 2014, collated by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and present ed by the government in Parliament, the percentage o cases in which the accused re ceived punishment stood at over 45%. In 2013, the same figure was 40.2% while in 2012 it stood at 38.5%.

In 2014, Kerala was the best performing state with over 77% convictions while Bihar was the worst with just 10%.

The trend is significant as since independence conviction rate in cognisable crime (offences which fall under Indian Penal Code) have been consistently falling. The oldest record in this respect is that of 1953, the year when NCRB began collating crime data. In that year, the percentage rate of conviction to total cases tried was almost 64%.In the next decade it improved to 65%. However, 70s onwards it has been consis tently declining, dropping to less than 40% in 2012.

Putting the matter in perspective, a senior home ministry official said, “Not only are investigating techniques improving thanks to greater use of technology such as DNA testing and other forensics, one big change that has come about is that it is no more easier to falsely impli cate people and get away with it. Police thus is more careful before chargesheeting someone.

The cases where several accused mentioned in the FIR do not figure in the chargesheet have increased. This is resulting in better conviction.One can only hope this trend will continue.“

The 2014 data show that among the larger states with better conviction rates, Kerala is the best. In 2014, it has recorded a conviction rate of 77.8%. Its nearest competitor, Tamil Nadu is almost 12 percentage points behind with a rate of 65.9%.

Even Uttar Pradesh, with its infamous lawlessness, does better than the national average clocking 53.2%. Bihar is the worst with 10% conviction rate followed by West Bengal where the figure is 11%. Maharashtra, which not too long ago had one of the worst conviction rates hovering at 6-7% has shown marked improvement clocking a rate of 19.3% in 2014. In 2013, the figure for Maharashtra was 13% while in 2012 it was just 9%.

Kerala stands out as an example to follow. With a poor conviction rate of 19.6% in 1992--when the national average stood at 46.4%, the state more than doubled its conviction rate in a decade with the 2002 figures reading 50.2%.

In 2012, it got over 65% cases securing conviction and in 2013 improved the same to over 68%.


Conviction rates in IPC criminal cases in major states, presumably in 2015; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, September 2, 2016

See graphic:

Conviction rates in IPC criminal cases in major states, presumably in 2015

2016, 2017: Delhi

Somreet Bhattacharya, Conviction rates highest in capital in seven years, June 20, 2019: The Times of India

Scientific Evidence Collection, Advanced Forensics Help

There has been a substantial rise in the conviction rate in cases investigated by Delhi Police. As compared to the all-India conviction rate, which was about 25% in 2016, Delhi had about 63.7%. In fact, this is the highest rate of conviction achieved by Delhi Police since 2012.

The latest data compiled by Delhi Police shows that in 2017 there was a 12% rise in convictions. While the rate of conviction in dacoity cases has risen to 77%, an increase of more than 17% since 2016, in robbery cases it rose by 12% and murders by 6%. Police attribute this to implementation of scientific evidence collection and use of advanced forensic studies.

The figures are expected to rise after law are order duties are separated from investigation under a pilot project started earlier this year. The government has already sanctioned 4,227 posts (1,409 each for sub-inspector/ASI, head constable and constable ranks) for separation of crime investigation and law and order functions.

A proposal has also been made for setting up new forensic labs and having training sessions for investigating officers, who would be sensitised about the laws of extradition, important case studies and cybercrime.

The conviction in rape cases was 31.7% in 2017 as compared to 26.6% in 2016. For rioting, the rate was 36.6% as compared to 50% the previous year.

Delhi Police spokesperson DCP Madhur Verma said that a legal cell has been set up to follow up cases and analyse the orders passed by various courts on a day-to-day basis to achieve a better rate of conviction. “The legal cell prepares a monthly calendar of all important cases pending trial for effective tracking and monitoring of cases,” he added.

A synopsis of observations by the courts is prepared monthly and circulated among all units for improving investigation skills. These booklets flag lapses and shortcomings in investigations that need to be rectified. Apart from this, the legal cell prepares an offence-wise observation by the courts to highlight the trends in achieving convictions. Cases studies of wellknown investigations are also mentioned in these trends.

Crime incidents are divided under five heads — murder (including causing hurt), sexual offences, accidents, local and special laws, cheating, and theft or robbery — to provide tips to the investigating officers. “Analysing the trend has reduced the time taken to collect evidence,” said Rajan Bhagat, DCP, CRO. In the next few months, the investigating officers will be provided legal education by experts to aid them in foolproof conclusion of cases.

Work is on to integrate the records of daily arrests with prisons, courts, prosecution branch and the forensic science laboratory for better monitoring of cases and increased coordination between these departments. Daily diaries are being updated electronically for easy access to case materials.

Senior officers said that measures like setting up of a state-of-the-art control room under National Emergency Support System (NESS) and digitisation of evidences will reduce the response and case filing time to nearly half, which will eventually improve the conviction rates phenomenally.

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